Do you ever tell yourself, "I'm not good enough," "It's my fault," "I'm alone" or "I'm worthless"? If so, you're not alone. Many other people struggle with those thoughts, even Christians! That's why Brenda Crouch wrote a new book called Fight Forward. In the book, she explains that every believer is a champion by God's design.
You may know Brenda because she married Paul Jr., the late Paul and Jan Crouch's oldest son. I invited Brenda onto the "Strang Report" podcast to share her story of overcoming abuse and suffering as a child and into her adulthood. Those difficult experiences—and the lies she had to overcome as a result—drove her to write this book. She knows people need practical solutions to the difficult situations they face.
"God revealed to me through [an] ancestry test ... that in some of the history in the family, there was murder and abuses [of] varying degrees," she says. "Unfortunately, I was a victim of some of that abuse. When I was about 8 years old, my father sexually abused me. And it was during a very dark part of his life where he had really walked away from God, and I believe he was under a very demonic and dark oppression."
Sadly, Brenda says, this experience twisted her identity. Her mother didn't know about the abuse, and Brenda pushed down the trauma, hoping it wouldn't resurface. But she was wrong.
The effects of the abuse came out more in her adult years, she says.
"I took this kind of conflicting message of performance and legalism and wanting to please God and wanting to please all the people around me and meeting my parents' love and affirmation and then having this twisted identity of shame that I was rooted in—and self-hatred," she says.
She entered relationships as an adult that she classifies as abusive, but as terrible as they were, she says God used them to "remove the mask of performance, the mask of trying to be good enough.
"I was so encouraged by the story of Ruth and how [she] came out of Moab," she says. "The whole identity of Moab came out of incest. And so what a powerful example for me as God began to walk out and rescue me from the roots of the iniquity within my bloodline, but then to cut me free from those things and give me a new identity in Him. So the Jesus that I was taught about and that I had believed in and witnessed to others all my life was suddenly a Jesus who would reach into my pit, into my taboo place and become my experience."
Brenda believes this message can speak to more than just those who have come out of abusive homes and relationships. She sees a scary unraveling throughout culture, including in the political arena, the education system and even the church. She sees a movement rising up within culture full of people who are tired of not being heard.
"I believe that God is listening to the voice He has seen," she says. "He is actually in this stirring of the pot and the shaking that's taking place. He's using what the enemy means for harm to us for our good. I believe that He will use some of the most unexpected and unqualified people to reveal His glory in this hour."
That's why Brenda is passionate about telling her story. She wants people to know they don't have to remain in their identity as victims. Christ can restore anyone's story, no matter how full it is of sin or abuse or shame.
"These victims whom God wants to heal are not really intended to stay victims," she says. "They will be the warriors of tomorrow, the healers of a very broken and very hurting culture."
I hope you take Brenda's words to heart, especially if you've been struggling with a sense of shame and victimhood. Be sure to listen to my full interview with Brenda, where we dive deep into how God can heal the broken souls in America through His grace. (She even shares what it's like to marry into the famous Crouch family. I think you'll enjoy it!) Click here to listen.
And if today's message ministered to you, share this article on your social media or even just with a few select friends who you know really need it.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.